Democracy: A necessary good
Wars aren't just fought and won by armies and generals, though one cannot discount the impact of well trained, well equipped soldiers and creative military strategists. In recent history, the outcome of wars have often been decisively influenced by the ability of the contestants to mobilize the population of their own nation and divide loyalties among the population of the enemy. Some examples:
The American Civil War and the "Mobilization Proclamation"
In 1860, candidate Abraham Lincoln was opposed to slavery in principle, but he ran on a platform of opposing the extension of slavery into the Western Territories while believing that the US Constitution did not give the federal government the power to regulate slavery in the states. But as a war President, Lincoln believed that the federal government could liberate slaves in the rebel territories for the purpose of denying his enemy a war resource, the resource of slave labor.
The question Lincoln had to answer was this: Would an executive order liberating the slaves in the rebel territories help or hurt the Union war effort. Initially Lincoln believed that liberating slaves would hurt the union cause. Kentucky, a slave state that remained nominally loyal to the union, was considered by Lincoln to be a state of high military importance. (Maryland, Missouri and Delaware were the other slave states that did not secede, though the Confederate Congress included representatives from Kentucky and Missouri). As the war dragged on, however, Lincoln considered the advantages of liberation:
(1) Great Britain, an anti-slavery nation at that time, was considering whether it would recognize the Confederacy as an independent nation and whether it would attempt to break the union navel blockade of southern ports. (2) Anti-slavery voters in the Union states, while not a majority, were a noisy and influential voice in Republican politics. (3) Liberation would effectively transfer slave labor resources away from the rebels, towards the union.Thus, one could view Lincoln's 1863 proclamation as the "Mobilization" proclamation
World War I and Women
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified soon after the conclusion of World War I, a war in which the mobilization of female labor was an important component.
World War II and "Indian Nazis"
Many Indian soldiers fought side by side with British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers against the Italians, Germans and Japanese. But since India was a British colony, some Indians viewed Great Britain as their oppressor and sided with the Germans in the hopes that Great Britain's defeat would bring India national independence. The "Indian Nazis" lost the "battle" of World War II, but eventually won the "war" of independence.
Democratic Man: The Last Man?
One of the main arguments made by Francis Fukuyama in his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man was that while democratic political structures appear more vulnerable and unstable compared to dictatorial political systems, democracies possess clear advantages against their rivals. (Too many reviewers of Fukuyama's book seemed to be confused by it's title and believed that the author was forecasting a future with no significant or important events.) Democracy satisfies a mysterious human desire that is neither self-preserving nor reasoned, the desire for recognition. Even the most powerless human beings want their leaders to recognize them as their moral equals. Dictatorships inevitably run into questions of inheritance of power once a leader is incapacitated or dead. Democracies face significantly fewer problems with political "inheritance."
The "realists" who criticize neo-conservatives and their supposed zeal for "democratic wars of liberation" seem to miss an important pattern in American history: America's most bitter and dangerous enemies have not been the struggling democracies of Central America, East Asia or Eastern Europe. In the last ninety years, they have been dictatorships. American foreign policy should include temporary friendships of convenience with so-called pro-American dictators. But America's long-term security interests are best advanced by accelerating what Fukuyama called "The Worldwide Liberal Revolution."